US President Barack Obama announced [press release] Monday that he will nominate veteran Supreme Court lawyer and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Donald Verrilli [Oyez profile] for the position of solicitor general [DOJ backgrounder]. Verrilli, who currently serves as deputy counsel to the president, has argued a dozen cases [WSJ report] before the Supreme Court [official website], including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. [opinion]. In that case, the court found for Verilli's clients, MGM, that companies can be held liable if their software is used to illegally distribute copyrighted material. If confirmed, Verrilli would replace former solicitor general Elena Kagan [FJC profile; JURIST news archive], who was sworn in [JURIST report] as a Supreme Court justice in August. The White House also announced Monday that Obama will nominate David Cohen [official profile] for Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes.
The solicitor general is formally responsible for conducting all litigation on behalf of the US government in the US Supreme Court and supervising the handling of US litigation in federal appellate courts. Neal Katyal [official profile] has been the Acting Solicitor General since Kagan left the office for the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed Kagan as solicitor general in March 2009, two months after Obama nominated her [JURIST reports].